Culture of Outports
In 2010, ERA Architects initiated the “Culture of Outport” project that explores the adaptive reuse of outport communities that scatter the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador. Master shipbuilders often played an essential role as community builders in many outport communities. In many ways, shipbuilding is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s first creative industries.
As architects, we are committed to conserving our cultural heritage. In addition to our experience in adapting and reusing older buildings, we provide strategies for adapting communities, evaluating their cultural assets, and rehabilitating their built and natural forms.
Outport communities such as Burlington continue to change and adapt to a few major shifts that have occurred within the last 50 plus years; most significantly, the cod moratorium. These forces continue to have a profound impact on the cultural and economic sustainability of the town, and pose a threat to the intangible cultural heritage that makes Burlington the place that it is.
The project proposes that an understanding of the unique history and character of these communities is essential in order to successfully plan and manage their future evolution, post fisheries. There are plenty of examples throughout the province to suggest that communities are in search of inventive ways to invent new industries and ways of life in response to these major shifts by exploring and diversifying in alternative economies and opportunities. In many cases, creative thinkers are rebuilding these communities in the next wave of cultural activity.